A French perfumer, Guerlain, originated in Paris,Guerlain goes back to the early 19th century, making it one of the oldest beauty brands in the world. Their products are well-known to be some of the only five-star cosmetics across the globe. Their primary focus has been producing fragrances, such as the unforgettable Shalimar and Samsara. Still, they have also manufactured several other beauty lines such as the glossy Baume de le Ferte Lip Balm and lotions like Mon Guerlain Perfumed Body Lotion.
You might be familiar with their best-selling line Terracotta, a vast collection of bronzing powder that keeps expanding each year. Their primary expertise is in the aesthetics of scent, and they have influenced the era of perfumery more than any other brand in the modern era. With their hugely popular fragrances like Jicky and Vetiver, they have defined the trends of the fashion industry, concerning scents. In the near two centuries of its professional career, Guerlain has managed to create more than 340 of some of the most iconic and original fragrances the world has ever seen.
A few years back, Guerlain celebrated its 190th anniversary by recalling its incredible journey that revolutionized the world of cosmetics. Their tale is one that involves a luxurious family business that has been meticulously maintained and has thrived for more than five generations. Originating in the picturesque street of Paris, Rue de Rivoli, the company is now recognized in almost every corner of the world.
How It All Started
In 1828, young Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain decided to open a perfume shop in Paris. Among other things, he sold vinegar, soaps, and makeup products, including the liquid Bloom of Roses for lips. In a few years, the focus of his work shifted towards creating top-quality fragrances that targeted the high-ranking families of French society. In 1840, he created a flagship store, one used as a showcase for Guerlain, and that would ultimately lead to the big leap in his business.
In 1853, he had the honor of serving Napoleon III, the French Emperor, and his wife, Empress Eugenie. This earned him the title “His Majesty’s Official Perfumer” from the public, which only added to the House of Guerlain’s pre-existing reputation.
The House of Guerlain had adapted to the ancient tradition of handing down business to the next heir in line. In 1864, After Pierre-Francois’ death, his two sons, Aime and Gabriel Guerlain, divided the roles of master perfumer and manager between them, respectively. A few famous lines from the second generation of Guerlain include Fleur d’Italie, Rococo, and the 1889’s Jicky. Jicky was designed for women, but through a series of social trends and preferences, it ended up being the most-favored perfume of men.
The third generation of Guerlain, which is also called the golden generation, commenced in 1890, when Jacques Guerlain, the nephew of Aime, took over as the next master perfumer. He proved himself adept at the job from a young age. His first creation, Ambre, was prepared by the time he was sixteen. As an artist, he was extremely passionate about his work, claiming that his 1906’s perfume, Après l’Ondée, was meant to transfer the soul to the realm of Impressionism.
Some of Jacques’ timeless products include HeureBleue (1912), Shalimar(1925), and Mitsouko(1919). Today, they are adored by women and men all around the world, just like when they had been first introduced a century ago. Through both the World Wars, the House of Guerlain prospered under the supervision of its master perfumer. Jacques’ last creation would be the 1955’s Ode, which he had come up with by collaborating with his grand-son and would-be master perfumer, Jean-Paul Guerlain.
Jean-Paul Guerlain, the last family perfumer of the company, took over in 1963. He started off by introducing the famous men’s perfume, Vetiver, as well as the gem Habit Rouge, in 1965. It is said that Jean-Paul was so captivated by the looks of the French celebrity Catherine Deneuve that his next perfume, Nahema, was solely dedicated to her. In the following years, he expanded the company by inventing various other scents that would mark history in the House of Guerlain’s marketing accomplishments. These include Chant d’Arômes (1962), Chamade (1969), and Jardins de Bagatelle (1983).
Finally, one of Jean-Paul’s last and well-remembered creations was Samsara, introduced in 1989. It is a daring fragrance that is filled with potent scents of sandalwood, with the design of the bottle based on a Khmer dancer, copied from the Guimet Art Museum, in Paris. It is rumored that with this scent, Jean-Paul won the heart of his lover, whom he met when horse riding at a local show. As the last heir, he retired from his role as the master perfumer in 2002.
In 1994, the company was sold to the multinational organization Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). This was the first stage of transporting the company’s production to non-family perfumers. By the late 2000s, the company’s fifth in-house perfumer was chosen to be the Swiss-born Thierry Wasser. Wasser signified a new era for the House of Guerlain by introducing the line La Petite Robe Noir. The perfume is a mix of vanilla, cherry, almond, and licorice. Introduced as a limited edition, it gained so much popularity that, by 2012, it was declared a regular of the brand.
Thus, over the past decade, Guerlain has shifted to a whole new generation of beauty and fragrance. Though it is still true to its roots and its perfumes still carry the historic, distinctive scent from the 18th century, Guerlain has mostly moved on from being the ancestral home of the Guerlains to being part of a multinational conglomerate. Some of Guerlain’s most recent products include L’HommeIdéal (2014), Mon Guerlain, and Météorites (2018).
If you ever visit Paris, be sure to check out La MaisonGuerlain – The House of Guerlain – flagship store, located on number 68, on the famous Champs Elysees avenue. From getting the opportunity to design your own perfume, you get to attend a fragrance workshop headed by one of the House’s very own experts.
We have listed below some of the top-rated products of Guerlain. Be sure to give them a try!
Launched a century ago, by the House of Guerlain, Mitsouko by Guerlain was one of the top brands of its time. Released during what was called the “golden era” of the company, it is a pleasantly light and refined piece of perfumery. It gives off an enchanting aroma of woodlands covered with fresh layers of moss. It also possesses a pure mixture of exotic fruits and herbs, all of which come together perfectly for subtle, romantic wear.
A timeless product, invented by the great Jacques himself in the early 20th century, Shalimar Eau De Cologne Spray is the ideal cologne for women. It has a light texture and intensity, being composed of less than four percent of perfume oils mixed in alcohol. The scent very closely resembles the sweet and rich fragrance of a freshly peeled fruit, and that of the magnificent freesia. It also gives the impression of a garden-fresh bouquet of flowers, among which are the fine petals of jasmine and rose.
Weighing a mere three and a half ounces, ImperialeGuerlainby Guerlainfor Men is the perfect perfume to carry while you are on your travels. Manufactured in France, the product guarantees high-quality wear. Giving off fresh notes of citrus fruits including lemon and bergamot, it is a must for romantic occasions. The exotic petitgrain and neroli essential oils are extracted using steam distillation to contribute their floral magic as a softening effect to the alluring scent of the citrus notes.
Guerlain Shalimar Supreme Body Cream is a unique product, specifically designed to last for an extended period. It is composed of a rich formula – having exclusive ingredients that will make sure your skin gets all the comfort it needs. In a few days, the first effects will become apparent as your skin grows smooth and soft to the touch. It is suitable for all skin types in general, offering a quick-dry solution that makes absorption efficient. Shalimar Supreme Body Cream exhibits freshness and a charming and delightful scent.
Guerlain’s maxi-shine lip gloss for women has an ultra-fine texture due to which it can smoothly glide over your lips. There is no concern for a caking effect as long as you apply it gently. It will leave your lips looking fuller and glossier, making it perfect for casual wear. With a plumped-up, radiant finish, it has a light tone that goes well in contrast with your skin color. It coats your lips with a unique oil composition to provide the essential moisturization they need.
Mon Guerlain Perfume Spray is composed of a complex formula that includes a blend of different ingredients like the fruity mixture of mandarin orange and peach. Sandalwood and the rare spices of vanilla also contribute to its scent, while the overall captivating aroma is dominated by the floral fragrances of ylang-ylang, peony, and iris. For the best results, it is recommended to apply it to your body’s pulse points, which include the wrists, the creases of your knees and arms, the back of the ears, and the base of your throat. Pulse points release more heat, thereby steadily warming up your perfume and releasing the fragrance.
Guerlain’s Red Heels Lipstick gives your lips the natural radiance they deserve. This nutrient-rich formula lets you achieve that supple and smooth look along with a lightweight texture. The fine oils covering your lips will give your lips a luminous and sophisticated appearance.
Shalimar’s perfumed soap is easily a high-quality bubbly soap, capable of effectively producing lather when mixed with water. It efficiently traps dirt and grease and leaves your skin clear and gleaming. Having a smooth texture, it feels incredibly gentle on the skin and gives your body pleasant warmth and a long-lasting scent.